Alternatives to nail biting.

If you’re like me you bite your nails for… reasons, half of them you don’t know yourself.

Well, chances are it’s something you’re stuck with and it bothers you sometimes… but, not enough to stop.

I started picking them as a child and evolved into biting later.

My nails have always been strong, despite the abuse…

Chemicals while cleaning at work significantly weakened them. I got used to having no nails (at what some would consider to be dangerous levels), and the hangnails became a way of life…

I invested in some decent hand and nail cream while I was out of work for a month and they have done a world of good to my nails and my hands.

I also bought some CHEAP clear nail varnish. I wear it to help my nails keep stronger and prevent damage to the top layer etc… I soon discovered that the cheap stuff doesn’t just chip… it PEELS OFF. Yup, oddly, that’s the thing I do when I’m about to bite my nails now.

 

The stuff that you’re supposed to dip your fingers in didn’t work, bribery didn’t work… all the tricks of the trade have never worked.

If anyone gives you stick about looking after your nails. Fuckem. I started pushing my cuticles back recently too, as they were taking up HALF of my nails. Some hand cream later I’ve been able to keep them back (I’m not one for soaking my hands in anything but they are kept clean).

The reason I went for clear varnish is that it can be worn at all times, barring occupations that involve food. If your dress code is against coloured varnishes because of presentation… use clear. If anyone has acrylic nails (even if they look natural) and someone says something to you, point out the discrepancy.

I’m not a fan of coloured nails on myself, I don’t have the patience to do them evenly… maybe I’ll go with a nice rich colour set one day and use them on my days off from work for kicks… but, hell, I would have to take it off for work because I deal with food and for health reasons it would have to be removed regardless.

 

Due to a combination of factors I’ve not really bitten my nails in the better part of two months. This time, I’ll see how long it lasts. The record is two weeks for me and I’ve already beaten it.

I’ve taken the odd corner off or bitten off a broken section before it’s split further, but, so far I’ve not sat and taken half the white parts off all within a couple of minutes… so, if nothing else works… cheap clear nail varnish.

Also! Nobody’s going to notice if half your nails are painted if it’s clear, if you’re picking/peeling it off and there’s colour, well… it’s going to look a mess. If you’re alright with that, fine! xD

I know the picking isn’t the healthiest thing, but hell, with it being cheap it isn’t going to cling to your nails the way the top brand will. Nailvarnish for children is in the same vain, it’s not designed for longevity.

 

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A sidenote to binding.

This is rather a short entry, something that happened to amuse me the other day.

Mother had mentioned not wearing binders again… but I knew I’d want to wear one of the easier to get on and off ones just to see the difference.

And… When I tried one on, it was STILL TIGHT. I have had this batch of binders for months now… and I thought they were knackered.

 

Thing is, I was just used to my chest being flattened. My breasts were long used to being pulled and compressed they were penduluming. That, and hormones had done their thing a little too.

The moment I tried it on I realised, my binders for now still do have a use. If I feel my chest is moving around too freely I can restrict it during recovery… or, I can of course let things be and get used to things.

 

The model I used is T-Kingdom’s 801 People shit on them being lightweight all of the time… but I love them, they’re easy to adjust to and good in summer. Easy to look after, and surprisingly, more than I had ever known before, they keep their elasticity.

The second model I use/d is T-Kingdom’s M1500, an older model of the design that didn’t have the logo on the chest (and the model before that with different tags)

It’s interesting to see that they also have a new model out I can’t find reference to the old edition but I will say now that I originally DID have one of this style, the new back design looks like it would be much more comfortable.

I also started out with this model, but the fit didn’t agree with me and the velcro was problematic.

Since I started buying the two types I know work for me they seem to have developed a few more Tshirt style binders. The best way to look at which design would work for you is to consider the information on This page (scroll up it also has information for first time wearers).

I went for the XL size in the end as I was a 38″back at one point, and due to the penduluming it was just better overall. When I first bought at least one set of my binders I had them in both Large and Extra Large and found the XL had more fabric coverage in general and was better for me.

NEVER wear one that is too small for any period of time. (The binder that was large did have give in it as the size difference wasn’t too major. The worst side effect of the sizing was the fat poking out because of the squeeze xD).

 

Is your switch on?

This is something that is largely from personal experience, and, from hearing people talk about others.

Now, personal hygiene is as much a social demand as it is a personal one. It becomes more obvious if you happen to live in a city that has a healthy migrant population.

Often, I hear complaints about one colleagues personal hygiene. It annoys me to hear them complaining about it… rather than going to the colleague himself, however, he has been spoken to on numerous occasions about it. What I found interesting was, it wasn’t just because he has bad habits… It’s because of the country he is originally from.

Another worker from the same country was with us a while, before she moved home it was observed that after every shift she’d just put her uniform in her locker. Every. Shift. When confronted about it she more or less explained that she did wash it, only every few months or so.

Now, understandably this horrified a few people, as hell I’ve resorted to running a washing line through my kitchen to make sure it has somewhere to dry, cause, you know, winter washing means it’s going to have to sit on the airers a while longer than normal and cause a backlog.

The reason behind her choice was simple, it’s the way things are done in her home country. The country she was working in happened to have far stricter ideals on personal hygiene and presentation.

Now, with all of that said, time to get down to the point of this post.

I have encountered three stages of looking after ones self. That does happen to include housework, social interactions, all those fun things alongside cleanliness.

As someone that struggles with clinical depression it’s not much of a surprise to know that there are periods of time when I just don’t give a shit about things.

Then it hit me, in a conversation with my mother -about housework no less- she said at least it wasn’t like when she was depressed (she has reactionary depression, often triggered by death.) she often looked at our home, and herself, and thought What’s the point? and proceeded to not give a rats arse.

Even when I had to physically drag her to the bathroom to shower, as she is a woman that is very ‘you must wash properly at LEAST once a day’ orientated. Even when I had to bring food to her, sometimes I didn’t know if she ate for days on end. The list goes on, and I’ll spare the complete rundown.

Stage one of giving a shit, when the Switch is on everything is hunky dory. One looks after ones self, the home is clean, they maintain what they deem healthy relationships with people around them. They can, and will make the effort, to be happy.

Stage two of giving a shit, when the Switch is half toggled, everything is kinda in limbo. One can look at a mess and go meh. And keep ignoring the fact it needs doing to the point where even procrastinators will likely shake their heads at you. Hygiene begins to not be a priority and gradually becomes a chore.

It begins to become troublesome to find excuses to actually go out and have fun, see a film at the cinema and so on. One is still capable of going to work, but continually asks ones self why bother… and, the same can be said for most things.

In the half toggled state there are more downs than ups, but sometimes a room will be deep cleaned out of obligation and knowing you’re nearing a visit from Kim and Aggie if you keep it up.

Leaving one’s bed when not obligated to go anywhere becomes a chore… only to leave for bathroom and food breaks is a bit much.

Only hindsight makes one realise that the Switch needs to be on.

Stage three of giving a shit, or, not giving one… is when the Switch is off. All bets are off and boy howdy is it a struggle to get the people who are incapable of looking after themselves to do so.

Having been in that state you go on autopilot, you go to the places you are supposed to go to. Only if you have to, likely only when there’s money on the line – to further one’s consumption of comfort food or means to escape the reality you find yourself in.

It’s all hindsight and you only spot it, when the Switch is on. Seriously, it takes just a moment, of a day, like any other day. When someone will turn around and go – Oh shit, what the HELL am I doing to myself.

Then, the routine will begin and maybe be kept up for the better.

But I do know it can be a chore. My switch is more of a toggle, probably because I’m just Lazy. I know I am. The flat keeps tidy for a while, then it’s a mess, then I tidy it again and so forth.

When it comes to looking after myself, well… that’s a bit hit and miss. Always has been.

Thing is, if you know someone that you think has suddenly developed a personal hygiene problem, and I’m not just talking about showing up to work with bad bedhair (I do it regularily, purely because my uniform requires a hat, so… I don’t look at a mirror while I’m getting ready.) I’m talking about uniform, smell…

Don’t be aggressive about it, but please do say something. I’ve said plenty of times to people I work with. It will hurt, but I’d rather be taken to the side if I let things slip than have everyone talking about it behind my back. Much like the colleague I spoke of earlier.

Believe it or not, for many people with mental issues it can be comforting to just have someone ask ‘are you okay?’. As someone who’s rather over talkative and chipper, it becomes obvious there’s a problem when I suddenly become distant with people I work with.

I do have a lot on my mind recently. People are noticing. People are asking if I’m okay.

I tell them I have a lot on my mind and for at least one colleague who knows the full story, she lets it go, or just smiles at me in a way that says it’s okay she’s trying to understand.

That.

That understanding, knowing that someone cares enough to ask how you are, and in my case she’s the one person I work with that would be brutally honest if I was doing something wrong, or whatever.

You’d be surprised how much a difference having people you can trust in your life is.

If you don’t work, or you’re housebound and so on. There are means to get in communication with other humans, with the internet being what it is these days there’s little excuse.

One of my dearest friends and I share mostly written communication. We have been speaking for long enough to sense when something’s not quite right. Our typing patterns change, or what we’re saying isn’t quite the same as usual.

Every so often, I make sure (if I haven’t started the conversation with it that is) to ask if he’s okay. Sometimes it’s just with a simple ‘How’s you?’

As, even the strongest people, those that we think are always okay. Might need that extra bit of help keeping that switch turned on.

So, reader.

How are you?

Give Classical Music a chance.

No really, you’d be surprised how often it’s used in modern mainstream media.

Video games such as The Last of Us utilized an orchestral score, No Escape is one of the more broadcast themes – it has been featured on Classic Fm and the music (as well as other elements) received an excellence award. I’ve placed an example below for everyone, I’ve never played the game but I was introduced to the soundtrack by the radio.

I feel it’s worth mentioning that the Last of Us isn’t the first time a video game has had it’s music created on an Orchestral scale. Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness was such a trainwreck, but one of the elements that stood out to me at the time was that it was scored. One of the only games I knew at the time with such a detail, bear in mind this was back in 2003. Here’s the making of video.

Below is one of my favorite scores, from the soundtrack of the game, named merely as the main theme. I find it haunting to listen to, and, at the same time it’s not. Anyway, proceed!

Going back even FURTHER in time and I feel I have to mention one of the reasons for this post –  Kingdom Hearts, released in 2002 DIDN’T have an orchestral sound track. HOWEVER, it did feature one of the most awesome moments in a game I had ever experienced. A Night on Bald Mountain.

Originally part of the Fantasia sequences it opens up dramatically. Now, before anyone complains, the idiots that worked on the game managed to delete the soundtrack ahead of the HD remake that was being done at the time, yup, they goofed. But it was for the better, as they roped in Yoko Shimomura. She completely rescored 1.5 with an orchestra and built on an already wonderful soundtrack.

Flash forward to the 3D release Dream Drop Distance. 10 years in the future.

The music for Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance was a collaboration by Yoko Shimomura, Takeharu Ishimoto, and Tsuyoshi Sekito, containing musical compositions from all three. Among the songs included are tracks from The World Ends with You, originally composed by Ishimoto, who remixed them for Dream Drop Distance. [*]

Now, the significance here is quite frankly the world of Symphony of Sorcery. It is based off of Fantasia. Yoko Shimomura was behind the game’s usage of the music and quite frankly probably was the one to alter it for the game’s usage – being able to loop it n all that jazz.

I would also like people to note that a Night On Bald Mountain is also there too.

One of the most awesome parts of the first Kingdom Hearts games replicated very well in the 3DS version. What made me appreciate it better was that the quality of music was far greater. Sure, it’s on a handheld device, but C’mon, the 3DS is probably more powerful than a PS2 was back in the day (don’t quote me on that).

So far, that’s Three video game references. Yup, and I could go on and on about more of them. More recently, more TripleA games have been aiming for a sense of atmosphere and quality, and they have been able to get their games scored well. It’s wonderful to hear them on the radio being as well recieved and respected alongside what we do call classics.

A lot of, no scratch that, practically Any film that John Williams touches has at least one award winning score. You’re a fan of the Star Wars themes? Great, you’re a fan of classical music, as, Williams scored with an Orchestra. Yup, that’s all there is to it in my book. The Superman Theme is one of the most Iconic themes ever (Ranked a low 296)

John Williams’ highest entry in the Classic FM hall of fame. Is currently at 108 and it is his score from Schindler’s list

The highest of John Williams’s 5 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame, this first entered the chart in 2000 and peaked at number 48 in the most recent countdown. This is the third highest film score in the Ultimate Hall of Fame.

One of John Williams’ most moving scores, Schindler’s List showcases the master film composer’s staggering ability to turn a tune that captures the essence of its movie. It is yet another great example of Williams’s ability to set a film in the most perfectly sympathetic landscape, producing, yet again, music that stands up on its own when the film is taken away.

I do heartily recommend a read through the entire list from 300-1. Have fun seeing how Williams’ scores match up against each other.

Each single entry explains it’s most recent and common usage. Now, before everyone’s panties get in a bunch… There’s a separate list specifically for movie music. The final 15 will be revealed on November 7th so there’s time to get involved and try and guess which film has the number one spot. There’s already at least two entries by Hanz Zimmer and company (People seem to readily forget that Hanz Zimmer and Klaus Badelt worked on both Gladiator and Pirates of the Carribean – which explains why a certain score of Gladiator is practically Jack Sparrow’s theme.)

No seriously, here’s the two.

My Favorite Classical Tracks (Subject to change mind you!)

Adagio for Strings – Samuel Barber

Danse Macabre – Camille Saint-Saëns

Toccata and Fugue in D minor – Bach

Curse of the Black Pearl/ Pirates of the Caribbean Theme –  Klaus Badelt

Gladiator Suite – Hans Zimmer {Which leads into one of my favorite tracks from the same film. Now We Are Free.}

Whisper of Angels – Amici forever

Time to say goodbye/Con te partirò/Por Ti Volaré – Andrea Bocelli

I will leave you my friends with one of my favorite pieces of music, that… I’m honestly not sure if it IS classical.

Yup, another one from Gladiator. NOTE – The lyrics by Lisa Gerrard are … well, frankly NOT lyrics. There is no English, Italian, or Latin or any translation from any of those languages to another. Anywhere claiming to produce it are morons. It’s on the DVD commentary somewhere that Lisa just made it up on the fly to the music as a placeholder or something and Hans loved it. Soon she became the lyricist and the only person that can translate the syllables will likely never do so or be able to. Here’s a site that’s gone into more comprehensive research on the ‘issue’. Rather… a huge bitching shitstorm of a comment thread that more or less comes to a head with the response I found. Scroll down a few more times to see people pretty much corroborating what I already mentioned xD

13. Only to Fall

“Well… Shit…” Keyah blinked owlishly a moment before he went and poured himself a half pint of vodka, he made a gesture to his partner that read ‘just wait a minute’ before he downed half of it. “Alright, so. You’ve been talking to my granpa, and he sent you to someone else…” Keyah rolled his hand a little “And, now, down the line, you’re on hormones, and it’s taken all this time for you to be able to tell me?” Keyah was oddly calm, but there was no accusation in his voice.

 

“… Well it’s not exactly easy to tell the man I’ve been fucking that I’m a woman…” Dean felt like strangling Keyah… more of a fight was expected.

“…It’s not easy to hear either.” Keyah sighed and moved to look out of the window.

via 13. Only to Fall.

Well, whoops!

Now I know why I couldn’t write the next chapter of the Blue Arrow! Dean didn’t want to remain Dean much longer!

I am taking a LOT of liberties with Dean’s treatment and transition to Stephanie… But, I really don’t think that I should have to trawl through more than the ten pages of information on boob growth alone before writing this chapter up.

Dee’s family have big mammaries as far as the women go, Dean’s an averagely heighted slightly shorter man, so any breast growth of his wouldn’t be too hampered by height. There’s also going to be lots of padding going on in most outfits and… yes, Deanna is always going to be given away by those hands. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but a LOT of the transition will happen in the background.

This story is Keyah’s.

He still has sex with his partner while they can both stand it, but he doesn’t have unrealistic expectations. He’s not Deanna’s boyfriend anymore, they’re friends and fuckbuddies that happen to love one another a hell of a lot.

By coming out Deanna has forever changed the dynamic of the relationship. There’s no looking past that.

By communicating with one another they manage to muddle through like they always have done.

I’m a sap for character driven stories, and this is just another chapter in Keyah’s. His support network is growing and he isn’t perfect, but with the right amount of alcohol he’ll be ballsy enough to try anything.

Playlist time-!

Alright, so last time I prepared a playlist on a website for y’all… this time, I’m just going to tell you the CD’s I have in my car and it’s up to y’all if you go look for them. Bear in mind that while some will be released internationally they were purchased in the UK so titles may vary.

I am aware that there will be some overlap between compilation CD’s, however, I select them relatively carefully and try and get differently marketed sets.

I also have an old radio that takes CD’s only. Stations are usually Classic FM… and… sometimes anything else I can get, I can’t stand the dj’s talking over and between the songs most of the time. BBC Radio one just pisses me off most of the time I try and avoid it unless it’s a chart show and the people in the studio shut the fuck up and actually play music. I’d rather endure ads than listen to them prattle on for five minutes between songs because… they simply have to fill the air rather than just playing…oh I dunno, another fucking song! *cough* Sometimes the signal sucks and Radio1 is all I get between the news and other features I care fuck all about.

* Bon Jovi Greatest Hits- Mercury Records [One Disk Edition]

*Classical Voices – Sony Music [Three Disk Edition]

– Features The Prayer by Jonathan and Charlotte, Amici Forever Whisper of Angels, several renditions of Ave Maria, and a few surprises along the way.

*Eddie Stobart Trucking Songs (Sony) [Three Disk Edition]

This one’s far more an easy listening selection with ballads as well as softer rock songs… compared to below.

*[Parental Advisory] Greatest Ever Rock Anthems (Union Square Music) [Three Disk Edition]

– Beautiful People and Last Resort are at least two reasons for the Parental Advisory tag. I have a new temporary song for driving and it is Last Resort, it’s one of the heaviest things I’ll play in the car at all. [This one is the most recent bought of the rock sets and will likely be one of the last compilations as I now have three different sets that more or less cover all the bases for rock music I need]

*The Party Mix – Rock (Sony) [Three Disk Edition]

There’s not actually that much overlap between this and the Stobart set (probably deliberate), and there’s only a couple that overlap to the Rock Anthems set (Poison – Alice Cooper), this one has classics like Eye of the Tiger and other feelgood guilty pleasures.

*Keep Calm and Chill Out (Surprise Surprise it’s Sony again) [Two Disk Edition]

–Warning, when installing to computer tracks 4-17 of disk two could well fuck up. I had to rename 13 of the tracks completely. I think this is because a different version was likely released since the planning stage – one song difference is enough to throw a lot of the tracks off. Girl on fire by Alicia Keys was listed as Say Something by A Great Big World, tracks 5 and 4 respectively… And I don’t know why, just, careful folks, you might get one from the same batch I had.

I’ll admit, looking at the back cover there’s only around four songs I recognized… Listening to the whole thing and there’s plenty of earworms that were all over the radios in stores and whatnot. I love easy to listen to music, it’s a nice bridge between classical and the majority of the stuff I listen to.

*Custom CD as explained at length HERE

Sorry this one isn’t as personal, but I thought it time I mentioned that I don’t just listen to the same CD every day –  I can get away with the same one in for weeks, but I don’t always turn the radio on. My drive to work is a short one and the one to my mothers is one of the rare drives I WILL have music on. I use my ipod more frequently, when I’m walking or trying to sleep etc, and it’s on shuffle most of the time. That has more or less everything I have on it… and… frequently gets pruned down when I get sick of particular songs for sure!

So yes, add a few film scores in the mix and this is pretty much the stuff I put in my ears every so often xD

Just to give him that little more exposure I will also put up a song that Chester See wrote and sung a while ago. The live one is the one I have a copy of –

“Who Am I To Stand In Your Way”

Forgive me
I may have said things
That aren’t exactly
The way that I feel

I told you I’d be strong
I said that I moved on
But it doesn’t take long
To realize

That I’m not over you

But if there is somebody that makes you feel happy
Tends to your heart in the ways I’d been lacking
Then who am I, who am I to stand in your way
To stand in your way
To stand in your way
I won’t stand in your way

I know it sounds crazy
But I need you to trust me
If it’s how it must be
Then I’ll fade away

When it finally feels true
Then do what you have to
Cause I’d never blame you
For not choosing me

But I’m not over you

But if there is somebody that makes you feel happy
Tends to your heart in the ways I’ve been lacking
Then who am I, who am I to stand in your way
That I feel is no longer your burden
If there is someone that can make you feel perfect
Then who am I who am I to stand in your way
To stand in your way
To stand in your way
I won’t Stand in your way

Down the road someone will ask me if I know you
I’ll pause for a moment, I’ll smile and say that I used to

If there is somebody that makes you feel happy
Tends to your heart
The ways I’ve been lacking
Then who am, I who am I to stand in your way
That I feel is no longer your burden
If there is someone that make you feel perfect
Then who am I who am I to stand in your way
To stand in your way
To stand in your way
I won’t Stand in your way
I won’t Stand in your way
I won’t Stand in your way

As a Bonus, a less raw version that I didn’t know existed till today –  (but then, I’ve not really looked at his stuff since Whistle While I Work It came out… and that was a WHILE ago)

Character Soundalikes

I did already construct this post in more detail… but one windows automatic update later and my computer decided to eat it before I could save it.

First and foremost -This list is for fun!

No, really, if you read what I write and don’t think I hear the right voices for my characters… That’s fine! Feel free to comment who you think would be a better fit, and, most importantly keep imagining them the way you feel comfortable with.

There’s nothing worse than having a favorite book adapted and the casting choices be nothing near what you had imagined, or, there’s nothing worse than having one of your favorite books released as an audio book… and a voice you wouldn’t expect to be reading such a subject matter putting voices on for some of the characters (Instead of just keeping one’s normal voice throughout). Sure, the ideas may well grow on you, but, when it comes down to it, you will see your own imagined interpretations before those that others have set out before you.

NOTE –  Appearances don’t necessarily reflect the voices. Kurt Nilsen is quite softly spoken, and then POW a deep country voice that is wonderful for rock ballads – and the range to do much more.

North Star set Complete! // Byzantine, Blue Arrow set Incomplete!

North Star

Stallion – Jackie Chan/Michelle Yeoh

Evangel – Vitas/ Hayley Westenra

Raven – Oded Fehr/Cote de Pablo

Nohen – Kurt Nilsen/Angelina Jolie

Mouse – Alejandro Fuentes/Tara Strong

Soren – Chris Potter

Byzantine

Trey – A near raspy mix of Gerard Butler and Liam Neeson (He sounds like Butler’s speaking phantom most of the time but when he talks to family he sounds more like Neeson) [He’s a smoker and a stout drinker so factor that in no matter what voice you give him]

Chatan –

Riley/Kusinut –

Kiyiya –